Wycombe Independent councillors have spoken out after an electoral petition that called into question their election win last year was thrown out in the High Court. 

The election win of Julia Wassell, Imran Hussain and Steve Guy, who are all Wycombe Independent councillors in the Totteridge and Bowerdean ward, back in May 2021 was challenged in the High Court by Liberal Democrat candidate Anwar Rashid, but the petition was dismissed. 

The election petition sought to have the election result overturned, amid suspicions of vote tampering on a number of rejected ballot papers.

It was claimed that there were 108 rejected ballots for the Totteridge and Bowerdean ward, and that over 80 of them had three votes for the Liberal Democrats candidates and fourth for another candidate drawn in a different pen or pencil. 

It was alleged that there had been vote tampering, and that those 80 rejected votes would have gone to the Liberal Democrats. 

A case was taken to the High Court, and a recount was carried out under supervision of legal representatives and Thames Valley Police. 

But the recount confirmed the election of Julia, Imran and Steve, with each of them gaining more votes, and dropping Anwar Rashid into fifth place instead of the previous fourth.

Amid the recount which proved they were duly elected, the Wycombe Independents were successful in having the petition struck out by the High Court. 

Alex Temple, solicitor at Bindmans who represented the councillors, said: "We are delighted to have been able to bring this matter to a successful and justified end.

"The court decided, after a long and difficult year for our clients, that there was no reason the petition should proceed to trial, and instead dismissed it on May 6, 2022.

"The Court declared that our clients had been lawfully elected in the local elections held on May 5, 2021.

"This comes after each of our clients’ total vote tallies increased at a court-ordered recount, held in September 2021.

"The petitioner has now been ordered to pay the legal costs of each of our clients, as well as of the council."

In a statement, the Wycombe Independent councillors said: "This is an important decision. An election petition is a very serious process.

"It calls into question the validity of an election and forces elected officials to divert their time and energy to defending it.

"This does a disservice to our constituents and those voters who put their faith in us.

"We are therefore pleased to be drawing a line under this episode and moving on with the job for which we were elected.

"However, it is important to be aware that an investigation by Thames Valley Police into what happened during the election is ongoing.

"This investigation was started after our party reported a series of suspicious events during the election period and on the night of the count.

"We have been assisting the police with their enquiries since before the petition was filed in court, and now look forward to the investigation concluding.

"We hope that this will establish the truth of what occurred during the election and on the night of the count."